Escher.gif (426 bytes)

History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network

1866 Marsala - Biserte - Bona Cable

After the failure of Siemens and Halske's 1864 Algeria - Spain cable, portions of the cable were recovered and laid from Marsala, Sicily - Bizerte, Tunisia - Bona, Algeria in 1866.

As noted on the 1864 page, the cable was made with a conductor consisting of 3 copper strands [1], a first insulation layer of caoutchouc followed by a gutta percha layer [2], two layers of hemp cord saturated with tar and laid crosswise to each other [3], and an outer sheath of flexible copper strips [4, 5] resembling fish scales. Phosphor copper was used for resistance to corrosion by sea water. The total diameter of the cable was 13mm (0.5"). The shore ends of the cable used standard iron wire armouring instead of the copper.

Information from Haigh, illustration from Schellen.

Copyright © 2007 FTL Design

Last revised: 1 May, 2007

Return to Atlantic Cable main page

Research Material Needed

The Atlantic Cable website is non-commercial, and its mission is to make available on line as much information as possible.

You can help - if you have cable material, old or new, please contact me. Cable samples, instruments, documents, brochures, souvenir books, photographs, family stories, all are valuable to researchers and historians.

If you have any cable-related items that you could photograph, copy, scan, loan, or sell, please email me: [email protected]